The Common Habit of Replacing Mistruth with Mistruth
You might not realize it, but every day, in a quest to ease our suffering, the self-help world encourage us to take mistruth and replace it with more mistruth. And since this obviously benefits no one, in this article, I’m going to point out some frequent examples of this and provide explanation for each.
As you move along from example to example, see if you can pick up on the truth that actually does replace all mistruth and, thus, benefits everyone. Here goes:
- Replacing “worry” with “positive self-talk.”
Worry comes from the normal build up of thought. It need not be replaced at all (it’s designed to subside on its own). In fact, deliberate self-talk requires more thought. This prevents worry from subsiding.
- Replacing “a focus on outcomes” with “a focus on process.”
While we all do it to a certain degree, looking outside for answers is extremely unhelpful to human beings. As most in the performance world acknowledge, outcomes are found outside. But guess what? Process is, too.
- Replacing “I’m a product of my circumstances” with “I’m a product of my decisions.”
Because we all work inside-out, circumstances—the past, where we come from, a physical condition—do not determine our future. However, it’s not our decisions that do this. How happy and productive a person’s life becomes and the value of a person’s decisions are both effects, or byproducts, of the extent to which that person understands the first sentence of this paragraph (that we experience life from inside to out).
- Replacing “fix your thoughts” with “acknowledge your thoughts.”
The human mind is built to self-correct. Both fixing thoughts and acknowledging thoughts (like self-talk above) are external strategies that work to our detriment. Why? Because they consume more thought and effort. This adds clutter, obstructing the human mind’s innate propensity to self-correct.
- Replacing “it’s that guy’s fault” with “look in the mirror.”
When we feel bad, it’s easy to look outside, rather than inside to our thinking in the moment, and pin it on someone else. But blame is blame. Most people don’t consider that they are on the outside, too. Therefore, self-blame is just another form of looking in the direction (outside) where answers cannot be found.
- Replacing “fixed mindset” with “growth mindset.”
Sure, when human beings experience mental clutter, we feel bound-up and uneasy. And when human beings experience mental clarity, we feel free and relaxed. Thing is: Both are normal. The notion that when we feel fixed in our thinking, we can and should strategically change to a perspective of growth (or risk stifling our potential to transform, improve, or develop) is the epitome of looking outside and trying to repair something that’s not broken (it’s designed to change on its own). Besides, since both mindsets are normal, our potential to excel from either is the exact same.
- Replacing “can’t find my purpose” with “find your why.”
Similar to the feelings described above that occur from clutter or clarity, we all feel absent of purpose when our thinking builds and gets the better of us. This feeling, though, isn’t telling us that we actually lack purpose and need to go find it (our “why”) outside. That wild-goose chase takes us further form our true purpose, which has nothing to do with circumstance and rests inside, always.
- Replacing “detention in schools” with “meditation class in schools.”
As mentioned, the only thing that can elevate the consciousness of human beings is our innate propensity to self-correct (aka, “the psychological immune system”). And while the act of sitting in detention has no power to activate a young person’s psychological immune system, the act of meditation doesn’t either (that’s why, when we meditate, sometimes we feel good and sometimes we don’t). Quite simply, school children will easily ascend to clarity and calm to the degree they don’t employ strategies—including the act of meditation—to help them get there.
- Replacing “success drives my happiness” with “my family drives my happiness.”
Here’s a common one from the world of pro sports. Buying into the outside-in mistruth that success on the field causes happiness is an athlete’s shortest route to failure. What many miss, however, is that looking outside to one’s spouse, children, or parents for happiness causes failure, too. In other words, looking toward family as opposed to success makes no difference. It’s looking outside that gets us in hot water, regardless of where.
- Replacing “I don’t care if you’re the best” with “I just love watching you play or perform.”
At first glance, this advice to parents that’s currently making the social-media rounds sounds on-target. But no. Surely a parent’s love doesn’t depend on the performance level of his or her child. Yet love—the ultimate compound of clarity of mind, the ultimate truth—is a standalone entity. It has nothing to do with watching one’s child perform. Connecting love to the behavior of a child (or to anything on the outside) is never in anyone’s best interest.
- Replacing “a circumstance can make you feel a certain way” with “it’s your thoughts about a circumstance that make you feel a certain way.”
This last one is tricky—even for spiritual teachers. While it’s a spiritual truth that our feelings are connected to our thinking, and not to our circumstances, this doesn’t mean that our feelings are connected what we’re thinking about. Thought is spiritual energy. It fills our minds, it falls away—and this ebb and flow is the only thing we feel. In short, human beings don’t think in words. Thought, then feelings occur. The intellect then looks outside and manually attaches words, making it about something. Although it never really is.
There’s the list. Did you notice the constant? The one truth which replaces all mistruth? If not, here’s a hint: Every bad feeling—be it insecurity, anxiousness, frustration, anger, or apathy—is the result of looking outside for the cause of, and cure for, one’s feeling state. This means that since looking outside is the cause of bad feelings, we can’t feel better by cycling back outside (albeit to a different circumstance or strategy), again and again.
It’s pretty simple, actually: The only thing that prevents the psychological immune system from working is looking outside. Want to ease suffering? Then replace “looking outside” with “it’s never productive to look that way.” Or better yet, replace it with this age-old truth: “The answers you seek rest inside.”
Thanks for reading,